Committee of experts review environmental issues that impact population, economic growth

BY: Dominic Moses Awiah
Dr Tutu Benefoh (with microphone), making his presentation Picture: NII MARTEY M. BOTCHWAY
Dr Tutu Benefoh (with microphone), making his presentation Picture: NII MARTEY M. BOTCHWAY

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set up a committee of environment experts to review Ghana's preparedness to deal with environmental issues associated with the country’s population and economic growth.

Dubbed the "Response measures working group and technical session," the committee has begun discussions on climate change and its impact on the economy.

Membership of the group include representatives of the Ghana Telecom University (TUC), Ghana Trades Union Congress (TUC), Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), Forestry Commission (FC) and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Economic/population growth

Speaking at the committee’s first sitting in Accra last Tuesday, the Deputy Executive Director of the EPA, Mr Ebenezer Appah-Sampong, reiterated the need for properly planned response measures to address the increasing economic and population growth.

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He said since Ghana’s economy relied heavily on its natural resource base, it would require “capable and accountable institutions, coherent climate policy, predictable financing, grassroots involvement and knowledgeable actors to position the country against emergencies.”

Mr Appah-Sampong said the committee would focus on a number of areas, particularly trade-offs between climate actions, economic priorities and jobs, cross-border trade, technology transfer, right to development and climate protection.

“Already, Ghana has its own nationally determined contributions (NDCs), which are required to mitigate climate impact. The NDCs are made up of 31 development actions cutting across seven economic sectors,” he said

Mr Appah-Sampong said the implementation of the NDCs was expected to last for 10 years and would require $22.4 billion international and domestic investment.

Climate change

In a presentation on Ghana’s climate sector, the head of the Energy Resources and Climate Change Unit at EPA, Dr Tutu Benefoh, called for strong systems to be put in place to curtail the effects of the pressure on the country’s natural resources.

The mining of gold, he said, could have serious climate issues if measures were not put in place to contain it.

“We need access to finance and skills, without it, Ghana cannot prepare efficient response measures to protect the environment,” Dr Benefoh added.